Council Member thanks the BCRC, helps clarify Grove issues, encourages citizen involvement

[The following was posted by Leslie Pool (Council Member for District 7) on the Rosedale Yahoo Group (aka listserv). It is reposted here with her permission. The BCRC (Bull Creek Road Coalition) is a coalition of seven neighborhoods around The Grove development. The BCRC’s mission is to coordinate efforts to ensure the best use of the former state land (at 45th and Bull Creek) to benefit the persons and businesses most affected by the development. The RNA is an original member of, and has two active participants in, the BRCR. You can learn more about the BCRC from their FAQ.]

From Leslie Pool
Sep 5 11:23 AM

Hi all, I want to thank everyone working on this issue. I agree with the concerns voiced – traffic, amount of parkland, safety and access. I encourage everyone to contact all Council Members and the Mayor as all eleven of us will be making decisions on this development.

The honest truth about the traffic is that the one road the development will connect to – Bull Creek Road – cannot handle the amount of development MileStone proposes to build there. I don’t know any other way to say it. Wishing, deflecting or ignoring the facts on the ground – literally – doesn’t change them.

Some folks have been talking about connectivity of which there is very little in the proposal. MileStone will need to provide connectivity across Shoal Creek to Shoal Creek Blvd for bikes and pedestrians. It’s not (yet) part of their proposal. The extension of the Shoal Creek Trail in the latest iteration does not show a connection to the development. This may be an oversight but is certainly a surprise given the various discussions already held relating to that route and the clear direction from City staff that the Critical Environmental Features in the NE quadrant are no-build areas – including a paved trail – and don’t qualify to be counted as parkland, and the fact that I clearly described it at the recent Rosedale NA meeting. The clear preference of the neighbors is to leave that pathway undisturbed – not paved and not “improved.” The way the trail there is now is just fine.

And finally (although there’s much more to say), the park as described does not meet City standards. The plan counts acres that don’t qualify – like the CEF, the wet pond (only half of which counts), and paved “open space” areas. It’s my contention that pitting the number of affordable housing units against parkland is a losing proposition. People who live in affordable housing deserve parks, too. Rather than reducing parkland for increased affordable units, the intent should be to maximize both for a truly superior development.

The PUD has more work to do before it meets City Development Services/Planning staff approval – and that happens before it goes through the commission process and finally to Council. And while folks can surely engage all the fun stuff – picking facades, designing restaurant space, talking about what retail stores and bike routes they’d like to see – decisions about those details are months and months away and are solely the purview of the developer, not the Council and, frankly, not the community. It’s fun to engage the conversation, but you should know the developer may or may not in the end actually do anything with your input.

I thank all the local residents for the serious work they’re doing on this proposal, especially the efforts being coordinated through the Bull Creek Road Coalition. As I’ve said many times, you’re in it for the long haul, and I appreciate that. The affiliated neighborhoods have a tremendous store of expertise: please continue to keep the entire Council apprised of your work; it very much matters as we work through this very complex proposal. In the end, the Austin City Council is the sole arbiter of the shape the development will take, its size and density and entitlements, for better or for worse. Please know that I will do my very best to represent neighbor concerns and interests, as I hope my dais colleagues will, as well. It’s the residents’ concerns that matter. Developers come and go – they pocket their profit; we residents remain.

Please keep me apprised of your communications to the rest of the Council and Mayor. I will continue fighting for the neighbors but the full Council will be voting on this issue.


Leslie Pool
Council Member, District 7
Austin City Council